Wayne County held a groundbreaking ceremony recently to mark the beginning of the construction of a new Agriculture Center. Governor Bill Lee joined Wayne County leaders to celebrate the $1.2 million project.
“Great to be in Wayne County to break ground on their new ag center. This facility will be mission-critical to the success of agriculture in the community & will help develop the next generation of TN farmers,” Lee wrote on Twitter.
Great to be in Wayne County to break ground on their new ag center. This facility will be mission-critical to the success of agriculture in the community & will help develop the next generation of TN farmers. pic.twitter.com/HPHlRgRWoD
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) October 25, 2021
The facility’s construction was approved during September’s county commission meeting.
The Ag Center will be built within the Wayne County Industrial Park, which has been used for hay production for more than 30 years. The Wayne County website states that the center will “house the local UT Extension and Soil and Conservation offices, a 125-person training/meeting room, commercial kitchen, and a covered pavilion to provide outdoor classroom and event space. The grounds around the facility will be used for ag-related shows, demonstrations, and eventually, community gardens.”
It is expected to open its doors in Summer 2022.
Wayne County also won the Kubota “Hometown Proud” $100,000 grant program. Kubota, a tractor company, had nearly 400 applicants for the program. Kubota has loaned Wayne County some equipment for the building.
In a video recorded pitching the Kubota company to award the grant to Wayne County, residents expressed what the Ag Center meant for them.
Maegan Harris, the county’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent UT Extension, said, “We need a core place that our communities can come together. The timber, the poultry, the home gardeners, the commercial growers or greenhouses; all of it to pull into our community.”
She added, “For us being such a big farming community, we lack the space.”
Local teacher Audra Flippo said that having a place to student to learn about farming. She said, in part, “I think that anything we can do to help them be able to put their hands on anything agricultural is going to be of such benefit to our county and such benefit to our students and their futures.”
Wayne County has over 650 farms that cover over 130,000 acres of land. Community leaders say they hope the Ag center will allow for expansion within ag-related programming, encourage new farmers, and provide training to increase farm production levels, which would increase the number of jobs within the agriculture industry within the county.
Construction for the new Ag Center is set to begin in November, with G&G Construction as the builders.
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